Spoiler Mini Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

SPOILER WARNING: As the title of this blog post suggests this is a mini review and it’s full of spoilers.

Full disclosure I was gifted this arc many moons ago in exchange for an honest review.

This book is packed full of your favourite ya fantasy romance tropes. Enemies to lovers, “slow-burn” romance, insta love, fast paced action, Oh no there’s just one bed, the chosen one, and characters that look suspiciously like other major characters in the book.

This book was far too many tropes with too much forced drama for my tastes. It’s by no means a bad book it’s just got lots of things I personally don’t like reading and I especially don’t like reading them all at once.

Enemies to lovers romance has always been my thing but when Lou (street rat and secret witch) is forced to marry Reid (god fearing soldier who loves burning heathens) because he chased her beaten ass through a theatre and they fell onto the stage in front of everybody I should have known this book wasn’t for me.

The romance develops from there really quickly with the obvious issue she’s a witch and married to someone who hunts witches for his job.

There’s a lot of blood magic witchy goodness in this book and I loved the idea of paying a price for magic. For example to break a lock you have to break a bone but unfortunately this stuff was lost in the melodrama of will he love me regardless like my mother couldn’t and this old man looks suspiciously like me and loves the same food I do.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Spoiler Mini Review: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

SPOILER WARNING: As the title suggests this review is full of spoilers.

I have a like hate relationship with this book series. The ONLY reason I made it to the third book was because I love enemies to lovers relationships and I needed to know how Jude and Cardan ended.

So this mini review is going to be biased as I’m not really a fan.

But from a none fan’s perspective Cardan turning into a huge ass snake that death was the only escape from was…a very questionable choice for a finale.

I felt like the book fell into the trap of high drama but for me without properly engaging my emotions and building up to these moments it feels like I’m being flung from one dramatic moment to the next without any real meaning to them.

This has always been a pet peeve of mine so I’ll digress.

For those of you who need to know yes Cardan and Jude do end up together. He announces Jude is his wife when she falls from the ceiling after trying to save him from a suspected assassination attempt.

As far who is going to rule Faerie it looks like Jude still intends to give the throne to Oak but honestly it’s never really discussed or finalised.

Oh and the whole banishment thing was easily solved by how everyone suspected. Jude could pardon herself.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Spoiler Mini Review: Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

I hate endings.

I particularly hate bad endings. Bad endings have the ability to trash an entire series for me so picking up Darkdawn made me a little nervous. Nevernight is one of my all time favourite series. It’s basically me in a book and I’ve been eagerly anticipating and kind of dreading reading Darkdawn.

I finished it today…

And…

I didn’t hate it but I’m not in love either.

I’m not disappointed (maybe I kinda am) I just think Mia’s ending never really interested me as much as her life did. Plus if you don’t like Ash then a lot of the emotional impact is lost. For example I LOVED Chapter 35 because I hate Ash, but I can imagine a lot of other people were crying. Honestly Mr Kindly being told to piss off upset me more and Eclipse’s death was the worst.

Things I loved about Darkdawn:

Mia. She’s probably my favourite female character ever. Tric because he’s just the best, Mercurio and Eclipse. I also loved the story of the sun, the night, their son and the four daughters.

Things I didn’t like about Darkdawn:

The insertion of the books within themselves just felt messy. The constant inside jokes which I laughed at a few times but there must’ve been at least six character jokes about footnotes. It felt a bit like, dare I say it, fan service? There was definitely a few things that I felt were noticeable. Particularly Adonai suddenly getting a much larger role.

Ultimately I don’t like the ending cos I don’t need Mia and Ash together in the Afterlife. I was told Mia died and yes she’s technically dead but I don’t need plot twist of dead Mia coming back to dead Ash to live happily ever after. Forever.

Honestly I feel like Mia is so much more than Ash’s obsessive love and I just didn’t need it. She should’ve dropped her for Tric as far as I’m concerned. Imagine if Ash was a man telling Mia to stay with her and not do what’s right and acting like she’s the only one who cares about Mia? That’s controlling and I’m not into it. She wanted Mia to herself but Mia is a person not a thing to have.

The book also felt a bit too bloated I found my self skimming which I never did before. The final battle was probably about 30 pages too long in my view.

OVERALL I love Mia Coreve and HER story but it came too obvious to me the book kinda played up to fans and jokes that exist outside the books which I would not have minded but they began to become excessive.

My burning love for this series has unfortunately waned.

This was supposed to be a mini review so I’ll stop now.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Spoiler Mini Review: The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

WARNING: Please be aware this book is the sequel to The Poppy War so if you haven’t read that one DON’T read this review or the synopsis below.

Synopsis:

Rin is on the run…

Haunted by the atrocity she committed to save her people, addicted to opium, and driven by the murderous commands of Phoenix, the vengeful god who has blessed Rin with her fearsome power.

Rin’s only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold her homeland, Nikan, to her enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. She throws herself into his war.

After all, making war is all she knows how to do…

Mini Review:

My biggest problem with the last book was Altan and Rin’s weird obsession with him.

So I won’t lie this book still had far too much of Altan in it with Rin grieving for him and basically becoming him. BUT we finally progress away from Altan after about 200 pages and that’s when the book gets much more interesting.

I loved the potential romance between Rin and Nezha that started to develop and Kitay and Venka got to take on more central roles which I preferred to the Cike.

As for the story I was hooked and I love how everything gets flipped on it’s head and there aren’t any easy solutions. This book does political intrigue and war spectacularly well and I can’t wait to see how Rin’s story will end.

I really don’t have the right words do this fantastic series justice on how morally gray, complex and fascinating it is. It’s a must read if you love adult fantasy with a touch of dark humour and amazing world building.

Rating: 4 stars

Spoiler Mini Review: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

Synopsis:

“When Rin aced the Keju – the test to find the most talented students in the Empire – it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who had hoped to get rich by marrying her off; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free from a life of servitude. That she got into Sinegard – the most elite military school in Nikan – was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Fighting the prejudice of rival classmates, Rin discovers that she possesses a lethal, unearthly power – an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of psychoactive substances and a seemingly insane teacher, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive – and that mastering these powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most people calmly go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away…”

Mini Review:

I love the history and lore in The Poppy War. I was given just enough information to feel like I knew the world without it being too encyclopaedic.

I was fascinated with all the mythology and I wasn’t expecting the dark humour which definitely made me rate this book higher.

The only issue I have is I don’t think this book did enough to get to its ending for me.

I could understand Venka, Altan and even Kitay wanting burning revenge. All Rin had to do was hear about the atrocities other people witnessed and experienced first hand.

It very much felt like a Daenerys Targaryen situation where plot took precedence over character development. The author wanted Rin to become this destructive force of nature so she did. That and the pacing made me drop a star.

Rating: 4/5 stars